Tag Archives: entrepreneurship

News from the World of High Growth Student Startups | GrubHub | Packback Books | #Entrepreneurship #Dissertation

Been awhile lots of research and busy with new opportunities at George Mason Universities. The Campus is indeed the frontier. Three items from the frontier…

University of Chicago Booth School high growth startup GrubHub has filed for an IPO. From winning the Edward L. Kaplan New Venture Challenge to raising millions in venture capital, Matt Maloney‘s startup has been on the move.

Big celebrations in Chicago and at 1871 as a student startup from Illinois State, Packback Books, appeared on Shark Tank last week. They closed a deal with Mark Cuban. The company, founded Kasey Gandham, Mike Shannon and Nick Currier offers short term, pay per use digital textbook rentals. Kind of like renting a movie from itunes etc. Big changes in #highered #textbook market!

My dissertation, The Campus as Frontier for Entrepreneurship: High Growth Student Startups at U.S. Universities, will be completed in April 2014. The dissertation will include a case study, a database of high growth student entrepreneurs, their firms, and universities. Additionally, the work will propose 5 archetypes of high growth student entrepreneurs and will suggest a frontier framework for evaluating U.S. higher education and its value. I look forward to sharing this work as I complete by PhD from GMU’s SPP.





Effectuation | Saras Sarasvathy

Am I late to the party on Effectuation and Saras Sarasvathy at the University of Virginia (found it through some of the Babson folks and their new book, Action Trumps Everything)? From the Effectuation video:

Effectuation is an idea with a sense of purpose – a desire to improve the state of the world and the lives of individuals by enabling the creation of firms, products, markets, services, and ideas.

Effectuation is a logic of entrepreneurial expertise, developed from a cognitive science based study of 27 founders of companies ranging in size from $200M to $6.5B. Effectuation articulates a dynamic and iterative process of creating new artifacts in the world. Effectual reasoning is a type of human problem solving that takes the future as fundamentally unpredictable, yet controllable through human action; the environment as constructible through choice; and goal as negotiated residuals of stakeholder commitments rather than as pre-existent preference orderings.

via About Effectuation | SEA – Society for Effectual Action.

Rise of the ‘Edupunk’ Spells Opportunity For Entrepreneurs

Jack Stripling has an interesting piece in the wake of the recent TIAA-CREF Institute’s 2010 Higher Education Leadership Conference.

In a notable acknowledgment of the tail wagging the dog, several panelists alluded here to the possibility that if colleges don’t change the way they do business, then students will change the way colleges do business.

College leaders don’t yet know how to credential the knowledge students are gaining on their own, but they may soon have to, said Mark David Milliron, deputy director for postsecondary improvement at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. We are not far from the day when a student, finding unsatisfactory reviews of a faculty member on ratemyprofessors.com, will choose to take a class through open courseware online and then ask his home institution to assess him, Milliron said. Colleges need to prepare for that reality, he said.

While the concept of a self-educated citizenry circumventing the traditional system of higher education may have sounded far-fetched a decade ago, the fact that the likes of Spilde gave it more than lip service marks something of a shift. Indeed, there was more than a subtle suggestion across hours of sessions Monday that colleges are in for a new world, like it or not, where they may not be the winners.

The piece highlights the work of various leaders in higher education, but makes clear that budgetary challenges are looming and change will come, even if it is not openly discussed in policy circles. From the piece:

Among those lamenting the lack of real action was William E. (Brit) Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland and a national advocate for improving efficiencies in higher education. During a session covering the college completion goals set out by President Obama and others, Kirwan passionately questioned the “enormous disconnect” between the rhetoric coming from policy makers and the reality in states that are slashing budgets. Moreover, he asserted that concrete benchmarks have not been set for how the United States will achieve Obama’s stated goal of returning to its historic summit as the nation with the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.

“If we were serious about this, we would have it mapped out,” he said. There are indeed maps, but Kirwan’s point suggests even policy wonks don’t see clear benchmarks.

The seriousness of the budget realities, however, did not go unnoticed by Matthew Goldstein, chancellor of the City University of New York. Speaking like a man under the Sword of Damocles, Goldstein suggested state deficits in New York and elsewhere were the “next bubble.”

“Here’s where the problem is really going to come and smack us right in the face,” Goldstein said.

“You don’t hear the talking heads and you don’t hear the politicians who are running for office saying how real this problem is,” he added.

Goldstein went further, asserting that the inability of states to meet obligations in higher education was a true “national security problem.”

There is far more to read in this piece if you are interested in the state of higher education in America — including positive actions such as UVA’s twitter based ‘flash seminar’ experiment.  (sounds cool, wonder what students think)

With knowledge at the center of our economy and society, and our knowledge makers and distributors undergoing radical change — from increasing demand and decreasing budgets to disruptive technology and global competition — the importance of entrepreneurship is clear.

Smart institutions will welcome them at all levels, from on and off of campus, many institutions and leaders will continue to fend them off, dreaming of security, not opportunity.

via News: The Rise of the ‘Edupunk’ – Inside Higher Ed.

Entrepreneurs Must Dream for Themselves and for Society

I am in the process of reading the book It’s A Jungle in There by Steven Schussler, the entrepreneur behind Rainforest Cafe and other customer-centric businesses.

Schussler has a great section on the importance of dreams to achieving success as an entrepreneur. He concludes his chapter on dreams with a piece of a poem by Langston Hughes:

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

There is no doubt that entrepreneurs are the dreamers of modern society and without them, society and economy do in fact become a barren field.

Yale Entrepreneur’s Cool Summer Business: An Ice Cream Boat

Fun and inspiring story of Jake Viola, a Yale undergraduate, who launched a business selling ice-cream from a boat to summer vacationers on Little Sebago Lake in Maine.  View Map

Yes, basically, the Good Humour Man on water. The story by Ray Routhier highlights the creativity of students and the role that family members can play in supporting entrepreneurs.

Viola, 19, of South Portland, has been selling ice cream from a pontoon boat on Little Sebago all summer long, calling his business Jake’s on the Lake. His family has a one-bedroom camp on Lyons Point, so he decided it would be a great launching point for an ice cream boat business.

His parents let him sell the family speedboat, and he used the money to buy a $3,500 pontoon boat, plus a freezer. He also printed business cards, which he hands out so people can call for special deliveries or party appearances. A family once asked him to come to their lobster bake, with more than 60 guests, and sell his ice cream.

He painted a big “ice cream” sign on the side of his boat, and now cruises the lake daily while blaring music from his sound system, including the ice cream truck standard “The Entertainer,” but with a hip-hop beat.

It didn’t take him long to develop a slew of regular customers along the shores of Little Sebago, which is densely populated with camps and homes. Viola had been to Lefebvre’s often enough that as soon as we landed, the family’s black Labrador retriever hopped aboard, apparently knowing full well that Viola had Frosty Paws, a frozen dog treat made by Purina.

The article notes that Jake does not want to major in business. (We have highlighted Yale entrepreneurs in the past).

Also interesting in this article are the comments. Many people support Jake, but there are a rare few, filled with spite that offer misdirected and blistering criticism towards Jake, his customers, Walmart, and any one else near Jake’s wake. Strange.

Either way, enjoy the article by Ray Routhier from the Portland Press Herald.

Writer Ray Routhier pilots Jake's on the Lake ice cream boat as Jake provides guidance on H2O ice cream delivery.

Yale Entrepreneur’s Summer Business Land’s Big Time

Governors Push College Completion, Inside Higher Ed

Incoming National Governors Association president Gov Joe Manchin III of West Virginia has made higher education productivity his administration’s agenda for the next year according to Doug Lederman of Inside Higher Education.

While this follows on Obama’s pronouncement and continued efforts by countless think tanks, trade groups, and philanthropists, this group is a welcome addition.

As Lederman’s post points out — 4 of 5 students engaged in higher education attend a public institution — only a handful (service academies, etc) of which are federally controlled. This unique, dispersed control of higher education supports the American Exceptionalism thesis.

From Inside Higher Education:

In a presentation at the association’s annual meeting and a news conference with reporters, Manchin outlined the steps the governors’ group will take to encourage its members, and the states they oversee, to try to increase the number of college- and career-ready residents despite what is virtually certain to be a time of continued fiscal austerity.

“As states face the worst economic crisis in modern history, we must collaborate to develop common performance measurements and take concrete steps to increase completion rates within our available resources,” he said in unveiling “Complete to Compete.” “From transforming first-year coursework to implementing performance funding, it is up to states and institutions to create policies that can improve degree attainment and more efficiently use the dollars invested by states and students.”

States do need to do more (both b/c of past transgressions and inability of federal policy makers to offer successful policies) to grow their way out of this recession. Higher education is crucial both as a driver and as a tool for other stakeholders. Whether Manchin and the National Governors Association see entrepreneurship policy on campus as the key mechanism the increased productivity remains to be seen. We will watch this one closely.

News: Governors Push College Completion – Inside Higher Ed.

Do Groups Kill Innovation – Knowledge@Wharton

From Knowledge@Wharton — the first business school in America (btw).

To come up with the next iPad, Amazon or Facebook, the last thing potential innovators need is a group brainstorm session. What the pacesetters of the future really require, according to new Wharton research, is some time alone.

In a paper titled, “Idea Generation and the Quality of the Best Idea (PDF),” Wharton operations and information management professors Christian Terwiesch and Karl Ulrich argue that group dynamics are the enemy of businesses trying to develop one-of-a-kind new products, unique ways to save money or distinctive marketing strategies.

How Group Dynamics May Be Killing Innovation – Knowledge@Wharton.